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Debut Book of Poetry by New Jersey Poet and Educator Carla Sofia Ferreira.
Carla Sofia Ferreira’s debut poetry collection A GEOGRAPHY THAT DOES NOT HURT US lives and breathes longing and saudade—across immigrant generations, across city streets and bus stops, parks and gardens, continents and oceans. With a great tenderness of attention, Ferreira travels between the song traditions of the ode and elegy, the prayer, and the fado. To long is also to understand many layers of loss, from inhumane immigration laws to the cruelty of climate change, and these present realities and crises inform the context in which the poet asks: how do we create a world that will not hurt us? These are poems for immigrant daughters, poems for Newark’s Ironbound and Portugal, poems for anyone who has felt grief or distance or loss—across time zones, across geographies.
Poetry. History. Family & Relationships. Women's Studies.
“We are nowhere and everywhere in Carla Sofia Ferreira’s A GEOGRAPHY THAT DOES NOT HURT US. But never lost. The certainty of Ferreira’s uncertainty on home and the heart makes a map for those who know life is ‘a fretwork of fragments’ we navigate by gut and guile. Both ode and elegy to all the liminal spaces we carry in—and outside—our body, A GEOGRAPHY THAT DOES NOT HURT US transcends time and place to offer a politic on what it means to be both American and not, woman/almost, descendant and maverick, fado and fiction. Lush and fearless, these poems urge us to unbind memory with pain and pleasure, ‘to love with both hands and eyes closed what is already leaving . . .’ but ultimately stays through word.”
“Joining her practices to the practices of her elders, Carla Sofia Ferreira’s poems are an intricately woven work of memory, loss, and transience. I read A GEOGRAPHY THAT DOES NOT HURT US as an extended gesture that emerges out of the work of her beloveds. With her language, she is beside them, washing the streets, pulling detail through the needle with steadfast attention and care. Her language full of grandmother, full of window, light streaming through the window. In this way, these tender poems work to ‘dwell in every possibility of place.’ Each one a small miracle.”
“Carla Sofia Ferreira is writing from a place not listed on maps or star charts, but imprinted in those untamable regions; the heart, the spirit, the soul. Traveling through odes, fados, and elegies, the poetry in A GEOGRAPHY THAT DOES NOT HURT US is a compass to that very place. A topography and arrangement of deep feeling, deep song, and meditation. The kind that inspires awe, melancolía and sensual lyric music. Ferreira writes, ‘This, I think, is my fado: / to love afternoons turned into morning, and / to love with both hands and eyes closed what is already leaving me.’ A welcome collection, for a world in need of less hurt.”
—Roberto Carlos Garcia
Carla Sofia Ferreira is a poet and teacher from Newark, New Jersey. Author of micro-chapbook Ironbound Fados (Ghost City Press, 2019), her poetry and prose have appeared in The Rumpus, Glamour, Washington Square Review, december, EcoTheo, underblong, Okay Donkey, and Cotton Xenomorph, among others. A recipient of fellowships from the Sundress Academy for the Arts and DreamYard Rad(ical) Poetry Consortium, her poetry has received several nominations for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. One of three students selected to write a creative thesis in poetry during her senior year at Harvard College, Ferreira holds graduate degrees in English and education from the University of Cambridge and Stanford University, respectively. The daughter of Portuguese immigrants, her writing explores transit and transience, urban geographies and distance, tenderness and translation. Her work as an English teacher continues to inform and nourish her writing as a practice of community and care.